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Why sufi music works

Transcending all religions, it is a link bridging God and the devotees, that takes you far away from materialism.

india Updated: May 29, 2006 13:42 IST

Sufi music, that has taken the art scene by storm in the last few years, has remained steadfast since the 10th century.

Transcending all religions it's a link bridging God and the devotees, that takes you far away from materialism. The music is synonymous with serenity, piety, mental peace and divine power, which is a symbol of truth. The word originates from an Arabic word, sufi, which means pure. The music began with the Chistia Order in Khorasan and spread its tranquil musical high all over the world. It is attracting the new generation at the international level, breaking barriers as an example of unity in diversity.

Qawwali recitation is a traditional part of sufi music that expresses an ecstatic feeling of love. This form of music recital is based on the Indian ragas and classical pattern of singing which has forms like kul, basant, hamd, naat and rang, all of them with a soothing effect of love for God. Classical music's song forms are the principal source of qawwali recitation and the languages seen as prime are Awadhi, Brij, Khari Boli, Persian and Punjabi. Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi, Hazrat Amir Khusrau, Baba Bulle Shah and Kabir are major exponents. What they penned is still able to liven up people's sinking hearts.

Both in India and Pakistan, many exponents of sufi singing have stolen hearts. The recitation of qawwali in praise of God or a saint is a distinctive combination comprising harmonium, tabla, dholak.

The repetitive clapping in sync is spellbinding and throws the audience into a trance. In particular, the compositions of Amir Khusrau are great favourites with the musical public because they are written in sweet, simple yet highly poetical language and speak of his love of God and guru (Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia) with great intensity and passion. These songs are the gift of the soil of Delhi to the world. They are both deeply personal and completely universal in spirit, exactly like God-love. Perhaps that's why they are so popular in today's crazy world of stress.